Pets for Alice Senior’s Program
“My cat Nipper is somebody to come home to who is always there to welcome me back to watch TV with or play and love. I could not afford to pay for a cat, being on a pension and unable to pay for proper vet maintenance or emergency vet care, this program allows me to have a loving companion that I otherwise could not. I am truly grateful.”
-Fred J., Pets for Alice Participant
New Hope Animal Rescue (NHAR) is pleased to introduce our Pets for Alice (PFA) program. This innovative program improves the lives of both pets and citizens by pairing eligible citizens with a companion animal in need of a home. As a rescue we are very aware of the challenges facing our community with stray and unwanted animals. New Hope Animal Rescue is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for animals in Guelph and the surrounding area and our Pets for Alice program is a positive step in doing that.
This program is inspired by a local woman named Alice B. When her beloved dog passed away she tried to adopt a cat but was refused because of her age. Sadly she was unable to rescue a suitable animal again. With some assistance she could have managed a pet that would have provided her with much needed love and companionship. Unwanted animals get a home and foster seniors benefit from interaction with pets and volunteers from New Hope Animal Rescue.
The animals in this program will stay with the foster parent until:
a. the foster parent can no longer foster the animal – for example: declining health, extenuating circumstances such as a change in residence or a move to Hospice
b. New Hope Animal Rescue determines the foster parent is no longer a positive companion for the animal.
Volunteer follow-up home visits include animal assessment as well as foster/animal interaction. These visits may also include some animal care, such as nail trims. An evaluation form will be completed by the foster parent after two months to determine suitability.
See below to learn about how to be a part of this wonderful program:
Pets for Alice is a program unique to New Hope Animal Rescue. We match a feline or canine with a senior citizen or in some cases a person with disability.
If interested in applying for this program please contact New Hope Animal Rescue so we can direct you to our PFA coordinator who will guide you through the application process. Once it is determined that the applicant is eligible, a visit will be made to the home to ensure the arrangements are in place for the animal’s daily care.
The animal is essentially on loan from NHAR. The foster caregiver is responsible for the daily financial care of the animal (food, litter and incidentals). Regular veterinary maintenance is provided by NHAR. If an emergency arises the foster caregiver must bring the animal to the NHAR veterinarian. If taken to any other veterinary facility all expenses will be the responsibility of the foster caregiver.
The foster caregiver does not choose the animal – we choose the animal from the available/eligible ones in our care at that time. Having said this, if there were a couple of eligible animals that fit the criteria for the program the applicant could choose between those animals.
A monthly home visit is made by a NHAR volunteer to ensure all is well with the animal and the caregiver.
If for any reason the caregiver is no longer able to care for the animal or chooses not to continue in the program, New Hope Animal Rescue takes the animal back. This is the beauty of the program.
It has been proven in many studies that the loyal companionship of animals can make the golden years happier and healthier. A study by the Mayo Clinic uncovered some interesting facts about elderly pet companionship:
- Pet companionship reduces doctors’ visits by 21%
- Alzheimer’s patients stay in the present more if they have a pet
- Seniors who do not have pets see a significant decrease over time in their physical and mental well-being
- Nursing home patients that engage in pet therapy have an increase in social and verbal interaction
This companionship not only increases the lifespan of animals and people but can help in the recovery from surgeries and illness faster. It is the nurturing instinct in animals that tend to bring out the best in those who are feeling under the weather. They are great companions that sense when you’re lonely or depressed and they are right there by your side to make you feel better. Researchers at the University of Guelph have proven that people who have pets to care for are more active and have a more positive outlook on life. These findings have been backed by a paper published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
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